Pumpkin Cookie

This Thanksgiving I am sending you a hug—in the form of a cookie. Maybe you need one today, after braving the supermarket, again, for that item which didn't make it into the cart. Maybe after spending hours in the kitchen prepping for a big meal, you're exhausted. Maybe there is a sense of loneliness, even when surrounded by people. Maybe you'd just like one, because hugs, let's face it, are always life-affirming and good for the soul.

This hug surprised me. I have never been a soft-cookie fan. Never ever. The Illinois College Roommate, however, had them waiting for me at our reunion, and being a polite guest, I partook... and was converted. This little mound epitomizes all kinds of warmth in its cinnamony flavor and comfort with its pillowy soft texture and just-right touch of sweetness.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving this year!

Pumpkin Cookies
slightly adapted from allrecipes.com

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For icing:
2 cups confectioner's sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup butter and sugar. Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to the butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in the dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.

Bake for 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool the cookies. While they are cooling, prepare the icing; In a medium bowl, mix the confectioner's sugar, milk, melted butter and vanilla until smooth. Add milk as needed if icing is too stiff. Drizzle the glaze with a fork.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Streusel Loaf

Nary a day passes without my thinking about blogging. One would never know, considering that my half-year silences grow ever my frequent. Yet, I do think, and I have stayed quiet. Sometimes it's just a matter of will to start the fingers typing and maybe, just maybe, inspiration hits.

Autumn flies by. Leaves turn russet, auburn and golden. Pumpkins proliferate. I love this season, and I couldn't let it escape without a new recipe. Three operative words: CHOCOLATE CHIP STREUSEL.

I am sure most of you have some sort of go-to pumpkin bread ideal, whether it's your homemade or store-bought treat. I love me a good streusel and the topping, combined with a chocolatey interior ribbon, won a definite place in my standard baking repertoire.

I tried five iterations of it and settled on this version. I like my streusel with some body to it and so I added flour and a little more butter to the topping; the original recipe was too crumbly.

slightly altered from NYTimes, Melissa Clark

For the streusel:

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cold butter, divided
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 teaspoons flour

For the cake:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup canola oil
2 large eggs
½ cup pumpkin
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 350º. Grease and flour a nonstick 9-inch loaf pan. (Or, if the pan is not nonstick, line with parchment paper and butter the paper.)

Prepare the streusel: In a bowl, combine the brown sugars, nuts, cinnamon and ginger. Cut in 1/2 tablespoon butter with pastry blender or your fingers until mixture is crumbly. Divide the mixture in half and add the chocolate chips to one half. To the other half, add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter and 4 teaspoons flour and set this aside for the topping.

For the cake: In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat sugars and oil until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin, sour cream and vanilla extract; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture.

Spoon ⅔ of the batter into the pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chip streusel over the batter, not allowing streusel to touch sides of pan. Top with remaining batter. Make sure batter layer touches edges of pan. Sprinkle remaining streusel on the top.

Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until wood pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes in pan on wire rack. Untold and cool completely.


oreo pretzel rice krispie treat

Hi People. After a year of silence, I am back! It has been so long that I forgot my password onto this site. Oh my.

Much has happened in a year.

The Daughter went grey-blonde and entered first year of college. I am nearing the half century mark with doom and gloom, with diet and health becoming an ever present topic of discussion.  I am also figuring out how to "help out" my son with his schoolwork, after 10 years of next to nil involvement. Don't ask.

I have done little baking exploration (diet!! health!!) and basically make my trifecta of standbys— chocolate chip cookies, brownies and cornflake crunch cookie— when occasions call for them. Today's treats, however, have made it into the rotation the past few months.

The BFF concocted this deliciousness and I want to share with you. It's particularly great in the summer months as it calls for just a little bit of stovetop heat and involves no oven. You will thank me for the cool kitchen, but will curse me when the one bite becomes two, or three, or four...

 I use miniature marshmallows so that they melt down more quickly.

One crucial technique pointer— try to keep oreos in larger chunks. Don't over pulverize.


1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 10-ounce bag mini marshmallows
pinch of salt
4 cups rice krispies
18 oreos, crushed (I place oreos in a plastic bag and lightly tap with a meat mallet)
3 handfuls of pretzel sticks

Grease a 9x13 pan.

Over medium low heat, melt the butter. Add the marshmallows and melt down, stirring constantly. Add a pinch of salt. Remove from heat and add the rice krispies. Mix thoroughly. Add the oreos and pretzels. (I squeeze each handful of pretzels as I add them to break them down a bit.) Mix thoroughly and dump into the prepared pan. Pat down the mixture evenly. Let cool a few minutes before cutting. 


easy salted caramel rice krispie treats

The Son rarely goes for seconds when presented with baked goods. He, like his dad, is a savory kind of a guy. Once in a blue moon, I find a treat which elicits more than a tepid response; he grazed on these throughout the afternoon. (I was so pleased he loved them that I neither stopped him nor did I contemplate the potential blood sugar spiking cavity inducing repercussions of said activity.)

My favorite aspect of this is that it stayed moist for three days. Have you ever bitten into a day old rice krispie treat and nearly broken a tooth? Or thrown it out because the dry factor was too much to bear? Yes, on the texture front, this recipe is definitely a winner. Add ease of execution and tasty flavor to the mix, and bingo, the snack rises to a top three treat.

easy salted caramel rice krispie treats

4 tablespoons butter
1 10 oz. bag of marshmallows
6 ounces caramel sauce
generous pinch of kosher salt 
7 cups rice krispie cereal

Grease a 9x13x2-inch pan.

In a large pot over low heat, melt the butter. Add the marshmallows and stir until completely melted.

Remove from heat. Add the caramel sauce and salt. Stir to incorporate. Add the cereal until fully incorporated.

Using a greased spatula or greased wax paper, evenly press the mixture into the prepared pan. Let cool before cutting into squares.


pretty things

Warning: this is not food related.

It's PRETTY. It's PRINTABLE. It's FREE.  I love all of the above and want to share the link.

Happy Hump Day!

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